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There is no food security without food safety; in order to eradicate hunger, we all have to ensure that everyone has access to safe nutritious food all year round. The way in which food is produced, stored, handled and consumed affects the safety of our food.

Today, June 7th 2019, marks the first ever World Food Safety Day, as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018. Under the slogan ‘Food safety, everyone’s business’.

Food safety is the absence or safe, acceptable levels of hazards in food that may harm the health of consumers. Food-borne hazards can be microbiological, chemical or physical in nature and are often invisible to the plain eye: bacteria, viruses or pesticide residues are some examples.

Food safety therefore has a critical role in assuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain – from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.

However, governments, international organizations, scientists, the private sector and civil society can work together to ensure food safety in the following ways; complying with Global food standards, establishing effective regulatory food control systems including emergency preparedness and response and providing access to clean water.

Moreover, they can also apply good agriculture practices (terrestrial, aquatic, livestock, horticulture), strengthen the use of food safety management systems by food business operators, and build capacities of consumers to make healthy food choices.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), with an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionally affecting vulnerable and marginalized people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict, and migrants.

An estimated three million people around the world especially in developed and developing countries die every year from food and waterborne disease. Food is the starting point for our energy, our health and our well-being. We often take for granted that it is safe, but in an increasingly complex and interconnected world where food value chains are growing longer, standards and regulations are that much more important in keeping us safe.

Today provides an opportunity for consumers, producers and governments to focus on raising awareness and promoting action. World Food Safety Day is a time to reflect on our role in producing safe, sufficient, nutritious food for the world.

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